Stability and Greed: The Aesthetics of Gold in the Modernist Discourses of Ezra Pound and John Maynard Keynes
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AuthorPeeters, Claire Marie
DirectorPérez Fernández, José María
DepartamentoDepartamento de Filologías Inglesa y Alemana
ModernismEzra PoundPoeticsJohn Maynard KeynesEconomic TheoryGold Standard
SponsorshipUniversidad de Granada. Máster en Literatura y Lingüística Inglesas
Ezra Pound’s poetry is infused with references to economic themes and ideas. One example is Canto XLV, “With Usura” (1936), which is underpinned by economic ideas. The discussion of Ezra Pound’s poetics in this work, especially viewed against his economics, takes as its starting point discourses around gold and the gold standard. The gold standard was a widely contested policy issue in the first decades of the twentieth century. In this debate, we see the intersection of recurring themes that are evident in works of both poetics and economics, such as the importance of nature versus artificiality, the issue and problem of representation, and the pursuit of the “just” or the good. In this work, I apply a historically-informed close reading of Canto XLV, developing the aforementioned themes and contextualizing the poem using a textual comparative application of two modernist texts on economics. This work references as a comparative point of contrast the writings of the economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), a giant in twentiethcentury intellectual and economic thought, who is seldom referenced in literary studies, but who was seen by Ezra Pound as the principal proponent, and in many ways the embodiment, of the capitalist society he so despised.